The Future of Technology?

October 28, 2022
How the biggest tech players are propping up fossil fuels
Computer chips

This week, in collaboration with Greenpeace East Asia, we released our first-ever technology report looking at the green claims and dirty facts behind major consumer electronics brands and some of their biggest manufacturing suppliers.

The report highlights the dirty truth hidden in the supply chains of some of the world’s biggest brands, like Google, Samsung, Microsoft and Amazon. The report found that even though companies are making progress to decarbonize their stores and data centers, their supply chains – which account for up to 75% of their emissions – are still built on fossil fuels (mainly coal).

Between cloud computing and VR, the tech sector supports the advancement of our lives through cutting-edge technology – but you know what isn’t virtual or forward-thinking? The sector’s massive carbon footprint.

The vast majority of big tech’s emissions come from burning fossil fuels for electricity in the supply chain, predominantly by suppliers that are still heavily reliant on coal, oil and gas. The electricity used in producing tech products is expected to grow by more than 60% between 2020 and 2030, meaning that if that power continues to come from fossil fuels, the pollution will grow with it. Burning fossil fuels for electricity doesn’t just cause climate-warming emissions, it has serious health impacts on local communities and is the cause of millions of deaths every year. That’s why big tech brands have a choice to make: Continue to feed the growing climate crisis or help build the clean energy transition.

Along with our partners at Greenpeace East Asia, we analyzed ten major tech brands and 14 of the biggest suppliers and found that on average only 5% of suppliers’ energy came from renewable sources. Brands are not doing enough to change that. If electricity demand from this energy-greedy sector keeps growing, and brands do nothing to ensure that the new demand is met from clean sources, they will lock in new fossil fuels for decades to come.

We found that even among the three brands that have already achieved 100% renewable energy for their direct operations, Apple, Google and Microsoft, only Apple has committed to doing the same in its supply chain. These billion-dollar companies are major energy consumers through their manufacturing, but they’re not doing enough to help their Asian suppliers clean up the grid.

We love our laptops, tablets, and smartphones, but not what they’re doing to the planet. We all have a stake in this industry, and we deserve answers.

Big tech needs to do better

Join us and sign the petition to tell the big players in the tech industry to clean up computing and commit to 100% renewable energy in their supply chains.

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